Issue Addressed: Little is known about the complex relationships between Australian Indigenous people's use of social media and “health-seeking” – seeking help for issues related to health and well-being. This paper has emerged from a broader sociological research project focusing on the help-seeking and help-giving practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on social media, specifically aiming to unlock its potential to create vital and creative connections between help-seekers and help-givers.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 52 Indigenous Facebook users from five sites across Australia.
Results: The use of grounded theory and Indigenous-centred methodologies for analysis showed clearly that users draw on the connections made possible through Facebook to health-seek. We identify five primary health-seeking strategies that differ in form, purpose and directness: soliciting health-related information, gaining emotional support, producing social health-seeking collectives, engaging in motivational and “eudaimonic” content, and connecting with formal health sources.
Conclusion: While far from being a panacea to health disparities, these findings show that Facebook does provide unique opportunities for many Indigenous help-seekers and help-givers in times of need.
So What?: Social media offers pathways for health-seeking both beyond and outside the dominant western biomedical models of public health promotion. These already-existing pathways should be considered by people working on social media public health promotion campaigns for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
- Indigenous populations
- consumer health information
- social media